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From the Sussex Express, 3rd July 1936



The beautiful garden of Littledene, the residence at Beddingham of Lady Rosabella Brand, was transformed into a pleasure ground with all the fun of the fair on Wednesday, when a fete was held in aid of the Firle Nursing Association.

The effort was organised by Lady Brand (hon. secretary of the association) in order to raise a reserve fund, and she had the help of the Hon. Mrs T Cecil, Mrs Brooke, Miss Rolfe (secretary to Lady Brand), and a band of other workers.

Apart from the many stalls and sideshows, a special attraction was the presentation by children of scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream. The scenes were enacted on a sunlit lawn against a picturesque woodland background, and the children were warmly applauded for their performance.

Dianthe Lennan was an astonishing success as Oberon, King of the Fairies. Titania, Queen of the Fairies, was portrayed by Angela Kelly, daughter of Mrs Kelly, better known as Joan Sutherland the novelist.

Patience Brand was a vivacious Bottom, the weaver; and the part of the carpenter, Quince, was played by Laurien Jones, daughter of Lady Jones, who has written several books under the name of Enid Bagnold*.

Among the rest of the cast were three little grand-daughters of the late Lord Asquith. They were Susan, Christine and Jean, who took the parts of Flute (bellows mender), Snout (tinker), and Snug (joiner) respectively. Sheila Munn was Starveling, the tailor, and Vivian Crichton was Puck.

Pupils of the Priory Crescent junior school and kindergarten of Lewes appeared as fairies and various woodland folk, with Patsy Browning as one of the chief fairies. Laurien Jones and Patience Brand also took parting a prologue as Theseus and Hippolyta, meeting in the wood on the eve of their wedding.

Music for the scenes was played by Messrs W H Clark (pianist) and V Moorby (violinist).


Glynde, one of the five villages served by the association, took a special part in the fete. They had a marquee to themselves, and inside a variety of articles were offered for sale. One stall was devoted entirely to things given or made by Glynde residents. Chief credit for this praiseworthy effort is due to Mrs Holdsworth, who organised it.

The Sussex Express balloon race was popular, and the names of the winners will be announced later.

During the afternoon and evening selections were played by the Lewes Town Band, and the day's fun ended with dancing on the lawn to music by the Glyndolians.

Among those who visited the fete were Brig-General D J E Beale-Browne, Lady Monkbretton, Mrs Kelly, Lady Jones and Mrs T Brand.

Helpers at the sideshows were:- Bowling for a pig, Mr Jim Cecil; Chinese laundry, Mrs Constable; fish pond, Mrs Booker; walking the chalk line, Mr Robin Brand, Mr John Mockwood; darts, Mr R Howard; potting the marble, Miss M E Freeman; palmistry, Mrs Stapleton; hoopla, Miss Kingsbury, Mrs Chivers, Mrs Mockford; coconut shies, Mr E Gravett, Master John Howard; fishing for bottles, Captain J Brooke, Mrs Brooke; staking the claim, MrsHoward; pony and donkey rides, Mr R Hughes; buttonholes, Miss Sellwood; competitions, Mrs Phillips, Miss Eileen Cox, Miss Peggy Grainger.

Stallholders and other helpers were:- Toys and other articles made by the Searchlight Workshops (Newhaven), Miss Powell, Mr A Curry; soft drinks, Mrs Gray; jumble stall, Nurse Worsfold, Mrs Sellwood, Mrs Unsted; produce stall, the Hon. Mrs T Cecil, Mrs Martin, Mrs Toms; Glynde gift stall, Mrs Weller, Mrs Hoather, Mrs Kent, Mrs Humphre, Mrs Barlow; teas, Mrs Pile, Mrs Lahoar, Miss Axford, Miss Hecks, Miss Greenwood, Miss Pile, Mrs Phipps, Master Cyril Harbour, Mrs Taylor, Mrs Cox, Mrs Grainger, Miss G Crossingham, Mrs Gravett; other helpers, Commander T Cecil, Mr H Cox.

Competition results were:- Bowling for a pig: 1, Miss Angela Kelly (Kingston); 2, Miss Blunden (Wellingham); 3, Mr Robin Brand (Beddingham). Walking the chalk line:- Ladies: 1, Miss Patience Brand; 2, Miss C Asquith (Rottingdean); Gentlemen: Mr Mc Hardy (Rottingdean).

Other prizes were won as follows:- Dinner, Mr A Knight (Firle); pendant, Miss Hayes (Wellingham); cake, Mrs Knight (Glynde). Hair-dressing: 1, Mrs Johnson (Patcham); 2 B Johnson (Lewes); 3, Mrs G Holford (Firle). Cinema tickets: Miss Cole (Lewes); Mr E Richardson (Ringmer), Mrs Hoather (Glynde), Mrs Owen (Firle), Miss Hayes (Wellingham), Miss Lusted (Firle), Mrs Sellwood (Firle), Mrs Backshell (Firle).

The proceeds of the fete, after deducting expenses, amounted to about £70.

*Enid Bagnold is best known for her 1935 book, National Velvet.

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